“I am a blacklisted construction worker; I will not be silenced” – read Dave Smith’s explosive evidence to SpyCops inquiry

Blacklist Support Group secretary Dave Smith

Blacklist Support Group secretary Dave Smith has this morning given evidence to the SpyCops Inquiry.

Speaking via Zoom to the Mitting Inquiry into undercover policing after he was previously barred from speaking, he:

  • accused SpyCop Mark Jenner of interfering with the internal democratic process of trade union UCATT
  • accused SpyCop Carlo Neri – who deceived trade unionist Donna McLean into a relationship – of deliberately attempting to entrap union members by inciting them to commit arson
  • called on the Inquiry to force the police to publish the names of Special Branch ‘key industry contacts’
  • called on the Inquiry to force the police to publish names of any trade union officials who supplied information to the police
  • slammed the Inquiry for lacking transparency and being unaccessible
  • accused the police of protecting big business and capitalism, not democracy

SpyCop Mark Jenner

During his submission Dave Smith said: “This Inquiry will find that Mark Jenner, an undercover police officer from the Special Demonstration Squad, infiltrated the construction workers’ union UCATT using the false name Mark Cassidy.

“Claiming to be a joiner, he attended Hackney Branch of UCATT, his union subscriptions were paid by a bank account set up by Special Branch. During his deployment he attended numerous union picket lines, protests, meetings and conferences. After each meeting pages of handwritten notes were typed up, presumably to be used as intelligence to be fed back to Special Branch.

“For the record: we accuse Mark Jenner, and through him, the British state, of interfering with the internal democratic processes of an independent trade union. They did this by covertly joining the union UCATT, by actively participating in debates and voting at union meetings on policy motions send to the national conference and to the Regional Council; by distributing literature favouring a particular candidate during EC elections; by publicly calling for the sacking of an elected union convenor; and by being particularly antagonistic at meetings thus creating divisions within the union.

“This is in direct contravention of international law signed and ratified by the United Kingdom, specifically: International Labour Organisation Convention 87 and the European Convention of Human Rights, Article 11. We expect the Inquiry to fully investigate the allegation.”

SpyCop Carlo Neri – who was sent to spy on activists, and incited activists to firebomb a charity shop in North London.

Dave Smith said: “For the record: we accuse Carlo Neri of being an agent provocateur, of deliberately attempting to entrap union members by inciting them to commit arson. Again for the record: the spied union activists wanted nothing to do with the proposed attack” they are trade union and anti-fascist activists, not terrorists.”

He said he was gagged from revealing Neri’s real name, despite last month writing about it Tribune and it being in the public domain for 18 months.

He told the Inquiry: “I am a blacklisted construction worker trying to get the truth of how me and my friends have been treated by the state. I will not be silenced.”

“But inside this public inquiry, the very body set up by Parliament to get to the ‘truth’, no-one is allowed to mention Neri’s real name.”

Name names 

Dave Smith said: “We are calling on the Inquiry to force the police to publish the names of Special Branch Industrial Unit’s ‘key industry contacts’ that both supplied and received information. We want the directors and the companies that were supplied with information about union activists to be named.

“And from the point of view of the BSG, if any trade union officials were amongst the ‘key industry contacts’ supplying information to the police, we call for them to be named as well.”

Criticising the Inquiry 

Dave Smith said: “Rather than being transparent and accessible, the Inquiry has set up as many barriers as possible to prevent core participants, the public and the media from being able to view or listen to proceedings.

“Oral evidence is only possible to be viewed by pre-registering. Those lucky enough to be selected must travel to London during a lockdown to sit in a hotel room and watch the proceedings on a TV screen.

“Otherwise, the only way to view the evidence is via a transcript feed, which is like being transported back to the 1980s to watch the Inquiry on Ceefax.

“This just doesn’t work. Journalists can’t check quotes, which makes it impossible to post reports in time for the TV and radio news.”

The dark underbelly of anti-democratic political policing

Dave Smith concluded: “Keeping this dark underbelly of anti-democratic political policing hidden is against the public interest – it only helps the perpetrators of wrong doing – not the survivors or the British public.

“The police can claim all they like that they were protecting democracy. But by spying on trade union members and colluding with our blacklisting, the UK’s political policing units are actually protecting big business and capitalism. And for the avoidance of all doubt: capitalism and democracy are not the same thing.”

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